Sir John Wesley Courtis was another man to make his sole appearance for the Welsh county in the scratch Glamorgan XI in 1893 against Cardiff and District.
John was a prominent figure in the public life of Cardiff during the late Victorian and Edwardian era, serving as a magistrate for 45 years and acting as the city’s Lord Mayor in 1911/12. During his term of office, John had the pleasure of welcoming King George and Queen Mary to the city to lay the foundation stone for the National Museum of Wales in Cathays Park.
His father – an Australian entrepreneur – had arrived in Cardiff with his wife and family 1868. Soon after, he purchased a brickworks in the Whitchurch area, largely as a speculative venture. It proved to be a most lucrative move as in the course of the next decade, a wave of housebuilding took place in the northern suburbs, with John’s father gleefully supplying the material to the plethora of builders who were looking to literally cash in on the growth of the coal metropolis.
Flushed with the profits from his thriving business, he was able to send John to Monkton House School. John subsequently completed his studies in Australia, before returning to Cardiff and setting up a stockbroking business. Besides playing cricket for the Cardiff club, John enjoyed a meteoric rise in local society and in 1886 married Marian, the daughter of John Osborne Riches, who was the business partner of David Davies of Ocean Collieries and one of the leading coal magnates and railway contractors in the region. John subsequently enjoyed a career in local politics, and in 1898 was elected to the city council.
He was also a loyal supporter of Sir Herbert Cory, the Conservative MP for Cardiff from 1915-1923, besides acting as Chairman of the management committees for both Glan Ely Hospital and Cardiff Infirmary. Knighted in 1911, he also acted as High Sheriff of Glamorgan in 1916. John and his family lived initially at Fairwater Croft, from which he remained a loyal supporter of, and benefactor to, Glamorgan CCC generously dipping into his pockets on several occasions to boost the Club’s coffers.
John subsequently moved to London to become a member of the Stock Exchange and after retiring and handing over the business to his son Walter, he and his wife moved back to live in Llandaff at Llwynderw House.
COURTIS, Sir John Wesley.
Born – Williamstown, Melbourne, Australia, 19 February 1859.
Died – Llandaff, 19 December 1939.
Batting and Fielding Record
Minor County Friendly – 12 v Cardiff and District XI at Cardiff Arms Park, 1893.